FRS and GMRS

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by K3SAM, Nov 16, 2002.

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  1. K3SAM

    K3SAM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Very interesting and confusing to say the least.  The XYL was wanting 2 way communications and had been looking at the FRS line.  So, she said lets go get a pair.  Hmm, easy enough.  So, some research first.  Motorola, Cobra, Bell South, Radio Shack, Genex, Pryme, and others.  Call, CTCSS, how many channels and which ones are real FRS channels, which ones are GMRS, what power levels do each provide, Call alert, scan, charger included, license... easy on line filing.

    To make a long story short, we first looked at Motorola which offered the most features, however no wall or desk charger available for any of their models yet.  That wasn't what stop us on Motorola though, the push to talk button was in the center of the radio !  How clumsy.  Even when I was 7 years old and had my first walkie-talkies, the push to talk button was on the side !  So much for the Motorola.

    Then we saw the Bell South, 22 channels w/charger and all the bells and whistles.  Not a bad price, $59.95 for the pair.  Brought them home, opened them up and the plastic was so thin that you could bend the radios with two fingers.  Ok, so they were cheap.  I started reading about the FCC license needed for the GMRS license.  The only mention was that one was needed to operate on "those" frequencies.  They offered a web site to go to for an instant license.  The web site that they gave was a general GMRS lookup site, not associated with the FCC at all.

    I did my own research and found that the standard 605 form that we use is the same form used for GMRS, however there is a fee.  We are not exempt.  Well, I don't know about you, but I have too many licenses as is, and I over paid for my vanity call ($50 back then).  I'm not about to get another license for GMRS, so back goes the cheap GMRS radios.  I also understand the FCC is cracking down on unlicensed GMRS users, and those that should know better (hams) are losing their ham licenses and equipment too.  Don't want that nor do I need it.

    I ended up swapping those with good, solid build Cobra FRS only radios, with a base type charger.  They work as advertised, the wife is happy, and I guess it is just another way she can keep tabs on me when I'm at the neighbors house or down the block (hihi), as if the Verizon mobile to mobile wasn't enough (can you hear me now ?).  And no license needed.  Now, do I say Roger, 10-4, QSL, OK, Yep, or Yes Dear ?

    -Sam
     
  2. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes, dear, of course!

    After all, when your wife says "jump", don't you ask "how high" on the way up, and permission to come down?

    Glen, K9STH
     
  3. K3SAM

    K3SAM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Usually I don't wait, I just jump.  As far as coming down, I take my chances ...  [​IMG]

    -Sam
     
  4. KB9YKY

    KB9YKY Banned QRZ Page

    Motorola does have FRS radio sets that come with ni-cads and a drop in charger with the PTT on the side. I got mine for free from a promotion Michelin had recently. Bought new set of tires= sent in form= got the free FRS radios in the mail. Pretty handie when I wonder off when we go shopping. As for telling which radio is which, FRS vs GMRS= the packages in the stores tell which service they are. If the package doesn't say, don't buy 'em.
     
  5. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, I used to own a GMRS repeater that was located on a site about 50 miles north of downtown Dallas. However, that was back in the days when GMRS was used a lot by businesses and not for "hobby" type operations. I haven't checked the regulations lately, but although GMRS licenses are no longer issued to businesses, they were "grandfathered" and could continue to operate so long as their licenses did not expire (no "grace period"). Those people who were licensed on my community-repeater GMRS system operated pretty much as any businesses do on the radio. That is, they called out delivery instructions, etc. The two primary users (i.e. largest number of mobile units) were a propane delivery company and a tire road service (the kind that went out to the big semi-trailers when they had flats on the freeway). Also, there were several home builders (construction companies) and a pipe line construction company. Each had their own CTCSS tone, but could communicate with each other if they put their receivers in the monitor mode. This was especially true of the construction companies and the pipe line construction company (they built primarily water lines and the home builders would coordinate with them for new housing developments).

    In the Dallas, Texas, area, there were several of the GMRS frequencies were used by REACT groups that had their own protocol for operating.

    I haven't looked at the licensing requirements for GMRS lately, but I think that the trend has been towards family groups and the like. Because of this, I would think that the protocol for operating is going to be vastly different from one group to the next. I would also think that each organization that has established a repeater would develop their own protocol. Probably, some of this protocol is going to be very good, some of it very bad, most somewhere in between.

    Since GMRS is basically nothing more than a renaming of the old Class A Citizen's Radio Service (operating on the 460 MHz band with 50 watts maximum output), legally, just about anything goes. Now, as for "hobby" type operation, this is not what the service was originally meant to be. But, in many areas, hobby type of operation is what is happening on the vast majority of frequencies. If an amateur wants to obtain a GMRS license, and if he/she wants to obtain the type-accepted equipment (they CANNOT legally use their 440 MHz amateur band equipment for GMRS), then they have as much right to utilize the frequencies as anyone else. However, if they get caught using modified amateur band equipment, they definitely can be fined, have their equipment confiscated, and even lose their amateur radio operator's license for life (that is, they can never be issued a license again!) as punishment. Considering the very low cost of type-accepted equipment these days, I certainly would not take a chance of losing my license!

    I don't make it a habit of monitoring the various GMRS frequencies so I really don't know what is going on to any real extent. But, since it is still a form of "CB", I would think that some of the problems of the 27 MHz band do exist. However, since there is still a licensing requirement, and since the majority of people using the frequencies are actually obtaining a license, the problems should not be as great as on the 11 meter band.

    Glen, K9STH
     
  6. N0PU

    N0PU QRZ Member QRZ Page

    STH:

    I have felt for some time that FRS/GMRS is the FCCs solution to the 11 meter problem.

    I expect the FCC to close 11 meters in the next couple years and then start cleaning up the residue.

    Now what they do with 11 meters really doesn't matter... I believe it would be in bad taste for the Hams to request it back... We already have a lot of space in that area of the spectrum so we don't really need it... or maybe we could make it a contest free zone...hehehehehe

    Harry N0PU
     
  7. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    For PU:

    Actually, for all of the major contests the WARC bands are "contest free" zones.

    I don't know about the things like state QSO parties, etc.

    Glen, K9STH
     
  8. N4SMB

    N4SMB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am a former sales rep for commercial two way radio systems.  I recently did some "horse trading", I gave a fella one of my no longer used demonstrator-800 mHz trunking units, and in return he  gave me  a dozen  brand new, never used Motorola FRS (family radio service) radios in trade.  (Motorola T-5320, T- 6220, T-5820 and T-6400)

    Some of these also cover all the GMRS frequencies with 1-watt output.  Some have NOAA weather channels (with severe weather alert feature), some have "scrambler" speech inversion and ctcss "private line". Some have VOX.  Some have the PTT button on the side, some have it in the center.

    I also received accessories with these units: nicad batteries & chargers (brand new, never been charged) and VOX headsets.

    I purchased alkaline batteries (didn't want to charge the nicads, which are still factory fresh, never charged) to try-out these units and play around a bit. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised at how well these units work. They certainly are handy for keeping in touch with kids around a large neighborhood, and for travelling with multi-vehicle carvans when on an outing.

    All this equipment is brand new, never used... with the exception of briefly "trying them out" to test the range.  

    With 1/2 watt on the FRS channels, Mototrola claims a range of up to 2 miles.  That's stretching it a bit.  They will cover 2 miles under ideal conditions (which are rare) but I found that they'll easily cover 1 mile to 1-1/2 miles . (I did not use the 1-watt GMRS channels) Pretty impressive for small unlicensed radios.

    I've got far too many of these radios so I'm looking for possible trades. I'd really like to find a Standard C5900 tribander in good working order, but I'd also consider a 2 meter/440 dual bander that has crossband repeater function. Also willing to consider other possible trades.

    These Motorola FRS/GMRS radios are in brand new perfect condition.  Whoever becomes the owner of these units will be very pleased.
     
  9. K3SAM

    K3SAM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't know what I have that you might want, however I wouldn't mind having a few of those Motorolas ! I have a 3 hundred dollar laminating machine that needs cleaned ?

    73, Sam
     
  10. N4SMB

    N4SMB Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (k3sam @ Nov. 17 2002,03:54)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">I don't know what I have that you might want, however I wouldn't mind having a few of those Motorolas !  I have a 3 hundred dollar laminating machine that needs cleaned ?

    73, Sam[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    Sam:
    Thanks for the reply.  My wife owns child daycares, so naturally, we have a laminator.

    However, I invite you (and any others) to e-mail me, if you wish, and maybe we'll work out a deal that's mutually beneficial.

    again, thank you for the reply.

    steve/kf4qvv
     
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